Event aspires to propel tech companies

Dozens of industry leaders are in the line-up to attend next week's Big Bang summit.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj (centre) says Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017 could help promote the country's image in the tech world.

The government hopes the Digital Thailand Big Bang 2017 summit next week will promote exchanges of knowledge between local startups and digital development companies from Asean and beyond, serving as a platform to negotiate deals between these entities.

Digital Economy and Society (DE) Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said the event will be a springboard for local tech startups and help propel the nation to the next level of competitiveness.

Mr Pichet said the Global Entrepreneurship Network, an ecosystem of 165 startup networks under the leadership of Jonathan Ortmans, will bring more than 15 top startups to the summit and organise activities such as pitch sessions.

The summit, scheduled for Sept 21-24, is slated to be held at Impact Challenger Halls 1-2, Muang Thong Thani. The event will showcase state-of-the-art technology and bring together dozens of digital industry leaders to exchange ideas and insight.

The DE Ministry and the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, the main host of the event, expect more than 100,000 participants.

"The government is trying to alert global tech firms, especially in Asean, that Thailand is already developing a digital ecosystem through the government's digital road map. Our efforts are paving the way to new industries in the country, including robotics, aircraft, digital business, biofuels, biochemicals, and nanotechnology," Mr Pichet said.

He said many tech startups can develop their businesses to cash in on the market. However, they still need to collaborate with global players to be propelled into success.

Mr Pichet said the event could help promote the country's image, as technological advancements maximise economic growth and social welfare, and strengthen Thailand's image as a potential digital hub in Asean.

"One of the most prominent initiatives is 'Pracha Rat Internet', a national initiative to provide broadband internet access to more than 24,700 villages in Thailand by the end of 2017," he said.

The country is also planning to implement the smart city master plan across 77 provinces within 20 years. Developing a digitally savvy workforce is also a priority.

Mr Pichet said Thailand needs to focus on global connectivity to promote the nation as a seamlessly connected hub to manage digitally enabled manpower in Asean.

The list of influential tech speakers in the event includes: Jeff Hoffman, serial entrepreneur and former chief executive of Priceline; Raffaello D'Andrea, professor of dynamic systems and control at ETH Zurich; Anthony Bargar, managing director of CSCG; and Robin Kwok, Airbnb's Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan manager, who will be speaking on the topic "Reimagining the travel industry".

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